Swansea completed the double over city rivals Cardiff at a rain hit St. Helen’s. However, the 29-17 victory came at a cost as the Whites lost four key players to injury during the 80 minutes. Four well taken tries from Richie Rees, Tim Evans, Jonny Vaughton, and Leigh Bevan were enough to deny a spirited Cardiff side.
Rees ensured Swansea got off to the perfect start with a superb break from a ruck that bamboozled the defence and resulted in him going over for a try. Stuart Thomas missed the conversion. Thomas extended the lead eight minutes later with a penalty after the Cardiff defence crept offside.
Blue and Blacks scrum half Tom Isaacs made a blistering run through the Whites defence and it took a strong tackle by Nicky Jones to force a turnover. The visitors were not to be denied though and scored a well-deserved try through full back Leon Andrews after good work by Chris Jones. Lee Thomas missed the conversion.
A barnstorming run that included a devastating hand off by hooker Richard Hibbard set up an attack for the home side with Nicky Jones continuing the move. Eventually the ball found Nicky Thomas, whose drop goal attempt was charged down. Against the run of play, a powerful burst by prop Nathan Trevett, accompanied by breaks from Thomas and Issacs, sent in Chris Jones for the visitors’ second try. Thomas concerted.
Half-Time:- Swansea 8 Cardiff 12
Swansea had a chance to narrow the gap just two minutes into the second half but Stuart Thomas failed with a penalty attempt. However after a superb show of pace by Rees, prop Tim Evans took a quick tap penalty and crashed over the line for a try which Thomas converted.
After a sustained period of pressure, Lee Thomas missed another penalty for Cardiff after a Swansea infringement in the scrum. A superb chip through by Rees was nearly gathered by the scrum half but he pulled up with a hamstring injury just metres short of the line.
Just a minute later though, centre Vaughton picked up on a loose ball to race past a stunned Cardiff defence and score under the posts. Thomas converted. The injuries sustained were not only confined to the Swansea camp as referee Tony Rowlands had to leave the field just after the try with a slight injury.
The visitors responded well with replacement Michael Leaman claiming a pushover try from a close range lineout. Thomas missed the conversion. After the visitors’ defence was caught offside, Stuart Thomas was given a penalty chance to kill off the game but he pulled his effort wide.
Chris Jones came close to a late winning try for Cardiff after charging down a Stuart Thomas kick, but he was unable to ground the ball over the line, allowing Swansea to scramble clear. The Whites finally put the result out of doubt as an excellent break by Darren Pittard sent Bevan clear for a try that Stuart Thomas converted.
It’s now two wins out of two this week at St. Helen’s as the Whites look to build momentum to take into next season. Next up this coming Saturday is an even tougher challenge at home to Llanelli, a match that will force coach Anthony Clement to make the best of his limited resources which have been further stretched by this evening’s injuries to David Watts, Nicky Jones, Rees, and Gareth Jones.
Full-Time:- Swansea 22 Cardiff 12
Venue:- St. Helen’s, Swansea
Weather:- Rain, 10C
Competition:- Welsh Premier League
Match Referee:- Tony Rowlands
Swansea Scorers:- Rees (Try), S. Thomas (Pen, 3 Cons), T. Evans (Try), Vaughton (Try), Bevan (Try)
Cardiff Scorers:- Andrews (Try), C. Jones (Try), Thomas (Con), Leaman (Try)
Swansea Team:- 15 Nicky Thomas 14 L. Bevan 13 J. Vaughton 12 D. Watts (rep: C. Shelmerdine) 11 N. Jones (rep: A. Bramwell) 10 S. Thomas 9 R. Rees (rep: D. Pittard) 1 T. Evans 2 R. Hibbard 3 L.May 4 I. Evans 5 Noel Thomas 6 D. Blyth 7 G. Jones (rep: R. Gallagher) 8 S. Edwards
By Paul Hopkins